Apprenticeships in manufacturing, engineering and construction have increased, the UK government says.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said there had been 442,700 apprenticeship starts in the UK between August 2010 and July 2011, a rise of more than 50 per cent with final figures from 2009/10. The figures included 175,500 among people over the age of 25, compared with 49,100 in the previous year, and 138,900 starts by 19 to 24-year-olds (113,800).Business, administration and law saw the most apprentice starts (130,290).
Engineering and manufacturing had 47,020 apprenticeship starts (37,860 in 2009/10); construction, planning and the built environment had 26,560 (25,210 in 2009/10); and information and communication technology had 19,160 (12,570 in 2009/10).
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This Government's unprecedented investment in apprenticeships is working for businesses and creating long-term career opportunities for record numbers of trainees.
"I'm particularly pleased that vital sectors like construction, manufacturing and engineering are continuing to back apprenticeships, despite tough economic times. By helping firms build a stronger skills base, this investment puts businesses on solid foundations to deliver sustainable growth and a more balanced and inclusive economy.
"The Government will continue to improve and strengthen the apprenticeships programme to drive up standards, cut bureaucracy for smaller firms and deliver more advanced level and high tech training."
The Government said funding for apprenticeships has been increased in 2011/12 to more than £1.4 billion.
Stephanie Fernandes, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “If the government is serious about rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing then focus needs to be provided to ensure apprenticeship funding is targeted on this sector. A 24 per cent increase in engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships against a backdrop of a 50 per cent increase across all sectors, should be cause for concern.”